(Even if you’re not aware of it)
As a writer, the only way to fail is when you stop writing.
But then again, “success” has different definitions for different people.
I know people who are happy if they build a daily writing habit. While others don’t stop until they make millions of dollars every year simply by writing.
I can’t say anything about the people who choose the first. But why stop at just building a writing habit when you can leverage it to turn your passion into a high-paying career?
In this post, I have listed the five signs that you’ll make it big as a writer.
Read on, and if you resonate with more than one, let me know you’re in on this journey together.
1. Money isn’t your sole motivator.
Everyone loves the green bills, us writers, especially so.
But when you’re starting your writing journey, if money is the only thing that motivates you, then you’re in for some disappointment.
I get several comments on my YouTube channel asking questions like, “What’s the quickest and easiest way to make money as a writer?”
What beats me is why people think there is an easy way to make big money.
If it were easy and quick, wouldn’t everyone have done it?
At the start of your writing career, you must be prepared to be in it for the grind. You’ll face rejections, challenges, and dry spells where you earn absolutely nothing.
But if you let these affect your will to write, you’d want to give up.
I wrote online almost every day for six years without making a single dime. I know several writers who started at the same time as I did, but now, they have zero online presence. They gave up when it was too soon, and today, they have careers in other fields.
I was adamant.
I knew my art had value.
I believed a day would come when people would pay me for my words.
I stuck on, and have built a thriving writing business today.
If you’re looking for a takeaway, let it be this: your passion, grit, and self-belief can fuel you, not the urge to be rich. Be prepared to show up every day without expectations. And one day, when you’re not even prepared for it, some crazy good news hits you that will make all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it.
2. You don’t get envious of other creators.
I’ve muted some creators on Twitter and LinkedIn, even though the content they post is valuable.
Because their success stories made me feel bad about myself.
The first thought whenever I saw a post from them used to be, “I’m more talented than them. Why do they have it so easy?”
But then again, nothing one posts on social media is ever the full truth. People paint a picture that shows they’re living the best life. But in reality, they might be burnt out or stretching themselves too thin.
You don’t know how another creator’s journey is like by looking at their success stories. If posts about how much wealth they created makes you feel bad about yourself, the problem isn’t with them. The problem is with you.
The first step to get out of this self-sabotaging mindset is to acknowledge that every creator has their unique journey. Comparing your progress with someone else’s perfection will only make you feel worse.
It’s easy to go down the path of jealousy, but it won’t take you anywhere.
The question is: are you brave enough to choose shameless self-belief over wallowing in self-pity?
3. You’re prepared to take responsibility for your success.
I know writers who love to blame the algorithm.
Their articles aren’t working? The latest post didn’t get enough views? The readers aren’t converting to newsletter subscribers?
It must all be the algorithm’s fault!
There’s a certain sense of comfort in blaming the algorithm. But doing so will only ease your anxiety for the time being. In the long run, it serves you no purpose.
Algorithms exist to make sure the platform runs smoothly. They don’t exist to appease your ego.
The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.
If you’re among the rare breed of writers who believe in owning up and taking responsibility for their success, then congratulations, my friend, you’re on your way to becoming super successful.
4. You’re intentional with your words.
I never made any money on Quora despite writing 800+ answers because I was never intentional with my words.
I only wrote what I felt like when I felt like it.
I had no vision, no long-term goal to sustain it. Even when an answer went viral, I did nothing to capitalize on it and use it as a launchpad to elevate my online writing career.
Till date, not leveraging my Quora fame remains one of the biggest regrets of my life. If I’d been more entrepreneurial, who knows how my life would have looked like five years later.
If you want to be a successful writer, don’t make the same mistake as I did.
When you put your work online, always do so with intention.
Have a goal in mind about where you see yourself in the next few years. Then, use every post you write as a step on the way to reach there.
You might not reach the end goal as per your plans. But you’ll definitely be better off than writing 1000 unrelated posts that lead nowhere.
Benjamin Franklin summarized it best when he said,
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
5. You’re flexible.
You might have heard of Ryan Holiday as the expert on modern Stoicism. But his first book, Trust Me, I’m Lying was a media exposé about the state of online journalism.
Dan Brown, the bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code, started his writing journey with 187 Men to Avoid, a dating survival guide for women.
I could cite 100 more examples, but you get the point, don’t you?
If you feel the first niche you pick is going to be your forever, you might be wrong. The world of online writing is constantly evolving, and if you don’t learn to be flexible to suit the changing taste of your readers, you’ll be left behind.
Most writers feel that finding your niche is a one-time thing. That once you establish yourself, you’ll be set for life.
But the super successful writers are the ones who are flexible, who keep changing their style of presentation with the changing world.
Summarizing, here are the five signs you’ll make it big as a writer, even if you don’t feel like this:
- Money isn’t your sole motivator.
- You don’t get envious of other creators.
- You’re prepared to take responsibility for your success.
- You’re intentional with your words.
- You’re flexible and are willing to keep finding your niche to suit the ever-evolving taste of your readers.
Do you agree with this list? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.